Our rating(4/5)
The easy-to-use POS app Square for Retail is good value for shops that also sell online.
Square for Retail is an affordable till system for small retail shops, with complimentary payment tools to sell online. The cancellable subscription works on iPad and iPhone, and only with Square Payments for card transactions.
  • Highs: Lower transaction fee on paid plan. Free plan available. Online payment tools included. User-friendly.
  • Lows: Only works on Apple devices. Only works with Square card machines. Too simple for some. Limitations in iPhone app. Support only on weekdays.
  • Choose if: You want to use the same affordable platform for retail EPOS and payments.

What is Square for Retail?

Square for Retail is a cloud-based point of sale (POS) system that works on iPad and iPhone only. It is a more advanced EPOS system than the free Square Point of Sale app that is more general than retail-specific. With Square for Retail, you get features only relevant to retail, whether selling in person or online.

The only payment system that works with it is Square’s. You can use the software directly with Square Reader and standard till equipment, and there are various online selling tools available for free in Square Dashboard (accessible in any web browser) or via the EPOS app.

The software is suitable for managing multiple locations, stock, vendors, teams of staff and more. Regardless of the sales channel, transactions are always synced in the account through the cloud.

Pricing

Square for Retail pricing is simple: you subscribe to one of two plans, a Free tier (no monthly cost) or Plus tier for £49 + VAT monthly per shop location. This can be cancelled any time, as there is no contractual commitment.

New users can get a 30-day free trial of Plus before subscribing to a plan.

Square for Retail Costs
Monthly fees Free plan: £0/mo
Plus plan: £49 + VAT/mo per location
Contract No commitment
Chip, tap, swipe payments Free plan: 1.75% per transaction
Plus plan: 1.6% per transaction
Online store, links & eGift card payments 1.9% per transaction w/European card
2.9% per transaction w/non-European cards
Virtual terminal & invoice payments 2.5% per transaction
Payouts Standard: Free
Instant: 1% added to transaction
Refunds Free
Chargebacks Free
Square
for Retail
Costs
Monthly fees Free plan: £0/mo
Plus plan: £49 + VAT/mo per location
Contract No commitment
Chip, tap, swipe payments Free plan: 1.75% per transaction
Plus plan: 1.6% per transaction
Online store, links & eGift card payments 1.9% per transaction w/European card
2.9% per transaction w/non-European cards
Virtual terminal & invoice payments 2.5% per transaction
Payouts Standard: Free
Instant: 1% added to transaction
Refunds Free
Chargebacks Free

There is also a Premium plan with custom pricing, which has the same features as the Plus plan, but with lower costs to suit businesses processing over £250k per year.

Businesses on the Free plan can accept any Visa, V Pay, Mastercard, Maestro and American Express card (including Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay) for 1.75% per transaction through any Square card reader.

Apart from the extra POS features, merchants get a lower card rate for chip, tap and swipe transactions on the Plus subscription: 1.6%.

Payments through Square Online Store, payment links and purchases of e-gift cards cost 1.9% for European cards and 2.9% for non-European cards. All other keyed transactions cost 2.5% each, including for email invoices, customer-not-present transactions in the Virtual Terminal and keyed in at the POS checkout.

Standard settlement in your bank account in 1-2 working days is free. Optionally, you can switch on an Instant Transfer setting that pays transactions into your bank account immediately after payments for a 1% fee added to the transaction fee.

Chargebacks and refunds are free to process with Square, and there is no minimum monthly turnover requirement.

Square Reader that connects to the POS software costs just £19 + VAT. The standalone card machine, Square Terminal, is more expensive at £199 + VAT.

Checkout and payments

Square for Retail can be used on iPad and iPhone, but it is better experienced on iPad with the larger screen size.

Square’s expertise in user experience comes across in the product: the buttons are large to minimise typing errors (surprisingly many POS systems have small buttons), the layout is intuitive and the interface isn’t cluttered with unimportant features. It is so simple that anyone can learn to use the system quickly.

Photo: Mobile Transaction

Square for Retail checkout

The Square for Retail checkout on iPad is not very complicated.

While other POS systems tend to dedicate most of the till interface with a gridded view of products to add to the bill, Square for Retail only shows a narrow column on the left with an intuitive search function, your choice of “favourite” buttons, and quick access to categorised items, customer profiles, discounts and saved baskets.

You can save the current bill (‘basket’), attach a customer to the basket, create orders, sell physical or electronic gift cards (e-gift cards), redeem vouchers and add custom amounts where needed.

Photo: Mobile Transaction

Square retail pickup order

Create orders for pickup or delivery directly from the till screen.

The payments screen gives options to accept cash, card (either via Square Reader or manually keyed in), gift cards or certificates, invoice, card on file, cheque or any other payment types confirmed manually at the till.

After a transaction is complete, you can send an email or text receipt, or print one off from a connected receipt printer.

Inventory management

Retailers need a robust inventory system for managing stock, and Square for Retail does that well.

The Free and Plus subscriptions can bulk-import items from an Excel spreadsheet, and categories, options, modifiers, units (e.g. grams, litres, inches, square feet) and stock counts can be added to individual items. You can also receive email reminders for low stock or out-of-stock items, and scan barcodes from the iPad camera via the Square Retail app (not possible on iPhone).

The Plus subscription includes the following extra features:

  • Barcode labels can be printed (Dashboard only)
  • Receive stock from the app and track the stock received
  • Process exchanges that automatically adjust stock levels
  • Stock transfers across locations (Dashboard only)
  • Create, send by email, edit and annotate purchase orders
  • Create, import and export vendor lists, and keep item libraries for each vendor
  • Bulk inventory intake
  • Advanced inventory reporting

Photo: Mobile Transaction

Square retail stock

Receive stock straight from the app.

Accordingly, if you want any purchase order and vendor management features, and the ability to transfer stock between different locations or generate barcodes, a Plus subscription is required.

Employee access and permissions

Every free Square account can add unlimited users with a 4-digit passcode for logging in and out of the till app.

This allows staff to clock in and out of shifts, and the admin can track team breaks, hours worked, view overtime reports and export timecards to a payroll system. The Free tier only has a predefined permissions set.

On Plus, you get the Team Plus subscription (normally £20/month per location) included in the Retail package. This allows you to set detailed permissions for an unlimited number of roles, set different wage rates, add timecard notes, view break violation reports, activity logs by members and detailed staff analytics.

Photo: Mobile Transaction

Square Team Plus permissions.

Customer loyalty tools

Even on the Free Retail subscription, you can create a detailed customer directory. These customer profiles can be attached to orders and transactions, making it possible to manage orders for collection or delivery smoothly. Customer profiles can be auto-created from payment cards, and segments created to distinguish defined groups of customers.

Photo: Mobile Transaction

Square for Retail customer transaction

A customer profile attached to the current basket.

Having these profiles is an invaluable way to track their purchase history, which is useful for personalising your service to individuals. Square even gives actionable guidance based on the data. You can direct-message customers from Square, and add card details to profiles (requires permission from the cardholder) for processing repeat payments expected by the customer.

The only real addition to the customer loyalty features on Plus is the ability to track several timestamped notes from customer profiles. The rest of the above are included on the Free plan.

Reports and sales analytics

The Square for Retail Free subscription has detailed sales analytics, but Retail Plus really stands out with its in-depth inventory analytics

While Free provides great sales reports and an overview of stock moved between locations, a Plus account has reports for:

  • Profit margins incl. projected profit estimates and profit margin
  • Vendor sales
  • Inventory by category
  • Inventory value by item
  • Cost of goods sold

Photo: Square

Square for Retail vendor analytics

Vendor analytics on a Square Retail Plus plan.